Film Review Round-up – THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS (1941); MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) and SHANE (1953)

Shepherd of the Hills, The (1941; USA; Technicolor; 98m) ∗∗∗∗½  d. Henry Hathaway; w. Stuart Anthony, Grover Jones; ph. W. Howard Greene, Charles Lang; m. Gerard Carbonara.  Cast: John Wayne, Betty Field, Harry Carey, Beulah Bondi, James Barton, Samuel S. Hinds, Marjorie Main, Ward Bond, Marc Lawrence, John Qualen, Fuzzy Knight, Tom Fadden. A mysterious stranger arrives in the Missouri hills and befriends a young backwoods girl. Much to the dislike of her moonshiner fiancé who has vowed to find and kill his own father. Excellent adaptation with superb production values and strong performances from the cast and superb direction from Hathaway. Gorgeous cinematography beautifully captures the San Bernardino National Forest in California. Based on the novel by Harold Bell Wright. Previously filmed in 1919 and 1928 and remade again in 1964. [PG]

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011; USA/United Arab Emirates/Czech Republic; DeLuxe; 133m) ∗∗½  d. Brad Bird; w. Christopher McQuarrie, Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec; ph. Robert Elswit; m. Michael Giacchino.  Cast: Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Josh Holloway, Vladimir Mashkov, Tom Wilkinson, Samuli Edelmann, Ivan Shvedoff, Miraj Grbic, Ving Rhames. Fourth instalment in the action-adventure franchise follows Ethan Hunt as he works to defuse a potentially-cataclysmic conflict between the United States and Russia. Implausible action thriller propelled by admittedly impressive action sequences, but lacking intelligent plotting and any respect for its audience. Followed by MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (2015) [12]

Shane (1953; USA; Technicolor; 118m) ∗∗∗∗∗  d. George Stevens; w. A.B. Guthrie Jr., Jack Sher; ph. Loyal Griggs; m. Victor Young.  Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Jack Palance, Van Heflin, Brandon DeWilde, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Elisha Cook Jr., Ellen Corby, Emile Meyer, Douglas Spencer, John Dierkes, Paul McVey, Edith Evanson. A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smouldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act. Classic Western memorable for many aspects, not least the beautiful scenery, photography and authentic production design. Ladd, Heflin and Palance all deliver career best performances and De Wilde is superb as the hero-worshipping young boy. Won an Oscar for Best Cinematography. Final film of Jean Arthur. Based on the novel by Jack Schaefer. Followed by a TV series (1966) with David Carradine in the title role. [PG]

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